This week, a ‘comedy’ in which Aniston plays against type, demonstrates the ignorance and insensitivity of mainstream Hollywood. It’s hard to enjoy her obvious comic skill when it’s presented in such a problematic way. Nevertheless, C.I endures, and watches anyway.
FILM: Horrible Bosses
DIRECTOR: Seth Gordon
CHARACTER NAME AND PROFESSION: Dr Julia Harris, Doctor of Dental Surgery.
PLOT SUMMARY: Three men who hate their bosses but for various reason cannot quit their jobs, decide to murder them instead. Nick (Jason Bateman) works for Dave Harken, who insists he works all hours of the day for a promotion that doesn’t exist and makes it impossible for him to get another job. Kurt works for Bobby Pellitt (Colin Farrell), a coke addict, who uses his office as a sex den, seemingly. Aniston plays the boss of Dale (Charlie Day) whom she sexually harasses and blackmails.
CHARACTER TRAITS: Irresponsible, unethical, inappropriate, rapist (she undresses and puts Dale, and other patients in sexual positions whilst they’re unconscious, she grabs his penis against his will). The film labels her as a ‘Crazy Bitch.’
NOTES ON PERFORMANCE: Aniston was celebrated for her portrayal of Julia, as it appeared she was playing against the ‘girl-next-door’ image she’d become known for. While it’s true that Aniston utterly convinces as the cruel, manipulative character she portrays, she’s also very much exploited for her attractiveness, which is a deeply problematic treatment of someone who harasses and violates her junior at work.
NOTES ON FILM: By all counts, Horrible Bosses is a truly terrible film. Three white men solicit advice from a black man to give them advice about how to kill their bosses. There are numerous gay jokes and rape jokes. Aniston’s entire character is demonstrable of how Hollywood enforces the notion that female on male rape is somehow a joke/a good thing/impossible. She’s made the object of a male gaze, and it’s constantly suggested that Dale should be grateful for the attention he’s getting from her because she’s so ‘hot’.
Furthermore, though Dale confronts her, asking to work in a ‘rape free’ environment, it’s not the sexual harassment that’s presented as a problem for him, it’s the threat that Julia makes to tell his fiancée that they’ve slept together. The screenplay attempts to extracts laughs from a scenario in which a man is made to feels he’s unable to confide in his fiancée something that negatively affects his daily life. That’s not funny, it’s a tragedy. Finally, Aniston’s character is the only female to have any significant screen time – the rest are either naïve, unfaithful or exploited for a fat joke.
CONCLUSION: Apparently another rape scene was deleted from Horrible Bosses 2. Can’t wait to see what they left in.